My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

06 November 2013

Well ...

Surgery is tomorrow. A couple hours ago I waved good-bye to my three babies as they were driven off to Thousand Oaks by Caleb's parents. That was weird, and even sad. They were happy though, which helped. And now we have a quiet house. We're getting a few things done. Pay bills. Clean the kitchen a little (don't worry Julie, there's still plenty for you to do). Pack for the hospital. Distract myself with some television.

It's weird, but I still can't wrap my head around the fact that I have cancer. Cancer. Cancer is a big deal. A really big deal. If I didn't do something about it, it would kill me. Literally. The lengths to which I must go to eradicate it are proof enough that we're dealing with a serious illness here. But I don't feel sick. It hasn't even been four weeks since I was told I have cancer. Four weeks! That's not very much time to wrap your head around something so big, so dire, so life-altering. Not much time at all. Which is why it all still feels so surreal.

So instead of wrapping my head around reality, I've been sewing and shopping and cleaning and hanging out with my kids instead. My temper has been short, my ability to prepare food seems to have disappeared, I've had a few more headaches, and I've been watching a LOT of television. But really, life has remained fairly normal. Well ... fairly. Cancer is now the first thing I think about when I wake up, the only place my mind wanders when it has time to wander, the last thing I think (and pray) about when I go to sleep at night. It's difficult to describe the emotional and mental drain of a diagnosis like cancer.

I think it's going to be a relief to finally check in at the hospital tomorrow. I am in NO way looking forward to surgery, but I'm ready to get on with everything. There's a line in the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers, where Pippin and Gandalf are standing on a balcony high in the White City, staring across the plains at the darkness of Mordor, and Pippin says to Gandalf, "I don't want to be in a battle, but waiting on the edge of one I can't avoid is worse." That silly quote has gone through my head a lot lately ... I don't want to go through surgery and chemo and all the side effects they will incur, but since I can't get out of it, let's get on with it.

And so tomorrow I get on with it. I check in at the hospital at 10:30. At 11:00 I get what they call a "bee sting." They inject a kind of isotope into the tumor, massage it in, and then during surgery, through ultra sound, they follow those isotopes to the lymph nodes. This is how they find the correct lymph nodes to biopsy and discover whether cancer has spread or not. Cool huh? But let's remember, its called a "bee sting" for a reason. Its supposed to hurt like crazy. Then at 1:20 surgery is supposed to start. It's supposed to take about 3 1/2 hours. I stay overnight, through lunch the next day. Then I come home. Recovery is supposed to take 3-4 weeks. I have a feeling it will feel like an eternity.

I'll keep you updated.

No comments: